How to do a HIIT workout at home

The gym may be closed but don’t let that prevent you from achieving your fitness goals. Besides helping you get (or stay) in shape, exercise is a soothing balm for the brain and central nervous system during these trying times. Try a HIIT workout from home to get a rush of those feel-good brain chemicals—no equipment required—in as little as 20 minutes.

How to do a HIIT workout at home

[Photo Credit: iStock.com/Syda Productions]

What is HIIT?

HIIT is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. This type of exercise regime alternates short bursts, or intervals, of intense physical activity with periods of rest. For maximum effectiveness, you’ll need to push yourself until you feel you can’t sustain the pace or intensity. Then, take a short rest to allow your body to recover.

HIIT can be done with or without equipment. The type of HIIT routine you choose will depend on your goals. If improving cardiovascular fitness is your primary goal, to try a running, skipping or cycling HIIT program. Looking to tone up and build muscle? (um, who isn’t?) Choose a routine that incorporates bodyweight exercises and you’ll get a cardio boost at the same time.

What are the benefits of HIIT?

Studies have shown that you can burn calories much faster with HIIT than with regular steady-state exercise—as much as 30% more. That means a HIIT workout can be much shorter than regular exercise to produce the same results. Most trainers recommend programs no longer than 30 minutes, to enable you to work at your maximum effort. HIIT is also shown to boost metabolism, which means your body keeps burning more calories even after the workout.

Okay, you had us at increased calorie burn (hello, weight loss!) but if you’re not yet convinced that a HIIT home workout could be for you, there’s more. This powerhouse style of exercise offers the benefits of cardio and muscle toning in one workout, while also improving overall heart health and lowering blood sugar. How’s that for multi-tasking?

How can I do a HIIT workout at home?

Many of the basic HIIT exercises will be familiar to you. Burpees, planks, lunges, push-ups, squats and jumping jacks are common to most HIIT workouts. There are also many variations to these classic moves that keep it interesting, and always challenging for your body.

Always start with a short warmup first. Aim to do HIIT 3 to 5 times per week to allow your body recovery time between workouts.
A HIIT workout typically follows one of the following two scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest
  • Scenario 2: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest

Several exercises will compose a ‘circuit.’ At the end of each circuit, take a 60-second rest. Depending on your plan and your endurance, you may want to repeat the full circuit for a total of 20-30 minutes.

Ready to get started with HIIT at home? Try this easy-to-follow video that can be adapted for all fitness levels. There are so many great, and free, HIIT workouts available online. Your challenge is to find the kind of HIIT that you enjoy and will want to stick with for the long term.

As always, check with your physician before starting an exercise program if you have any existing health conditions.

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